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Volume 29: Number 18

Tue, 14 Feb 2012

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi, its Kosher!" <ra...@itskosher.com.au>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 13:34:00 +1100
[Avodah] Halacha is about sources. Lo BaShamayim hi.

Halacha is about sources.  Lo bashamayim hi.

Perhaps one Jew's Shomayim is another Jew's source?

It may be a third Jew's sauce.
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Message: 2
From: Liron Kopinsky <liron.kopin...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 11:24:16 +0200
[Avodah] Oznayim Latorah

Does anyone know if I can find this online somewhere?

Parenthetically, he has a great vort for this list-serve on Parshat Yitro.
The chumash says  ?????????? ???-????? ???????? ???????????, ????
??????-??????? ?????? ???????? "Vayaanu chol ha'am yachdav vayomeru, kol
asher diber Hashem naaseh."
Oznayim Latorah comments: you must remember that this is not just any
nation. This is the nation where if Reuven says "night", Shimon says "day"
and Levi says "bein hashmashot." And yet klal yisrael were able to respond
"yachdav" to accept the Torah.

Kol Tuv,
Liron Kopinsky
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Message: 3
From: Lisa Liel <l...@starways.net>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 07:32:01 -0600
Re: [Avodah] Halacha is about sources. Lo BaShamayim hi.

Well, yes and no.  Lo bashamayim hi doesn't mean that everyone gets to 
make their own decisions.  It means that it's in the hands of man, 
specifically the rabbis.

There are two opposite tendencies that are both very worrying, in my 
opinion.  On the one side, there's the idea that you have to go to a 
rabbi to decide whether to have ketchup or mustard on your hotdog.  
Questions that are clearly *not* halakhic, like that.  There are people 
who won't make life decisions at all without consulting their rav.  
That's disturbing, and not at all what Judaism is about.

Then there's the other side, which could be called Talmudic Karaism, or 
Rishonic Karaism.  It's the reduction of our Torah sources to Torah 
she'bikhtav.  Just because the Mishnah and Gemara were written down 
doesn't mean that they are supposed to be treated as Torah she'bikhtav.  
They aren't just books that we can each pick up and read and apply our 
own logic to, any more than the Karaites were legitimate in doing that 
to the Chumash.


On 2/12/2012 8:34 PM, Rabbi Meir G. Rabi, its Kosher! wrote:
> Halacha is about sources.  Lo bashamayim hi.
> Perhaps one Jew's Shomayim is another Jew's source?
> It may be a third Jew's sauce.
> _______________________________________________
> Avodah mailing list
> Avo...@lists.aishdas.org
> http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org
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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 10:24:49 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Halacha is about sources. Lo BaShamayim hi.

Let's look at the phrase in context. The walls of a tanur shel akhnai
was assembled of multiple rings, with the cracks filled in by sand.

The Chakhamim held that each ring was its own keli, and therefore once
made tamei, even if they were separated and reassembled, the "new"
oven is still tamei because at least one of the rings still is. R'
Eliezer was choleiq, that the keli is the oven, and so the reassembled
oven is tahor. They both received a mesorah about tum'ah and breaking
up a keli, and are arguing about its implications to this case. We have
G-d Himself saying R' Eliezer understood the implications to the earlier
mesorah. But lehalakhah, we follow the rabbim.

Thus, I take the story of "lo bashamayim hi" as proof that the rules
of halachic authority are more important than which understanding of
the prior sources is more likely to be correct.

But to really understand that gemara, we need to contrast it to the
bas qol which said we hold like Beis Hillel over Beis Shammai, since
there we /do/ follow the bas qol. BH was greater in number, Beis Shammai
was wiser. And so, in the case where we do not consider "lo bashamayim
hi" to be applicable, we do obey the bas qol promoting authority over
intellectual acumen.

LAD, this is because halakhah is a legal process. As long as an answer
is a valid result of that process, it is just as "right". The better
answer is the one that has more authority, not the one that is more

To continue: "The one that is more logical" is really "the one *I find*
more logical". Obviously the rov who hold otherwise find the other side
the more logical one.

I think Lisa well advances what I wrote about, the idea that TSBP needs
to be a living chain down the ages, and not a neo-Qaraitic attachment
to Shas or the Rambam or whatever code or set of codes.

See also http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2009/08/postmodernism-and-mesorah.shtml
where I describe mesorah as a third choice between classical academic
search for authorial intent on one hand and deconstructionism on the

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Every second is a totally new world,
mi...@aishdas.org        and no moment is like any other.
http://www.aishdas.org           - Rabbi Chaim Vital
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 12:40:08 -0500
[Avodah] Worrying for the sinners' loss of money

On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 04:19:37PM +1100, RSBA wrote to Areivim:
: I really doubt that that is what "Hatorah chasah al mamonom shel Yisroel"
: refers to, ie, to permit financing the activities of apikorsim.

Nevermind context, I'm taking the conversation in an entirely new
direction anyway.

According to R' Zeira, we fast when there is no rain during shemittah
"mipenei paranasas chashudim" (Y-mi Taanis 3:1, 14a). So, the people who
are violating shemittah might not gain through their sin, and that's
reason to fast?

I found that an eye-opener:

(A raayah for RAYK?)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When we are no longer able to change a situation
mi...@aishdas.org        -- just think of an incurable disease such as
http://www.aishdas.org   inoperable cancer -- we are challenged to change
Fax: (270) 514-1507      ourselves.      - Victor Frankl (MSfM)

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Message: 6
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 13:18:44 -0500
[Avodah] Parshas Mishpatim: Rav Shimon Schwab - When Parents

  From http://revach.net/article.php?id=3449

The torah tells us in Parshas Mishpatim that both a child who hits or
curses his parent is chayav misa.  Rav Shimon Schwab asks how is it
that a child can possibly fall to such a level where he would do such
a terrible act?  He also asks why these two pasukim are separated by
a pasuk in between that says that if you kidnap a person you are chayavmisa.

He answers that the gemara says in Kedushin (30a) that a person must
rebuke his son while he still has a tight grip around his neck which
either until the age of 22 or 24.  Afterwards he must stop because
the child will no longer accept it.  If the parents continue to try
to control him beyond that point it would be considered like forced
slavery.  This can cause him to rebel and hit or curse his parents.

This is why, says Rav Schwab, the torah put the pasuk of "Goneiv
Ish", stealing a person squarely between hitting or cursing.  True
the child is in the wrong and will pay for it with his life, yet the
cause of it all still lies with the parent who did not listen to the
advice of Chazal.

A friend recently told me that someone asked Rav Aharon Leib
Shteinman what to do with a child that talks chutzpadik to his
parents.  Rav Aharon Leib answered that by nature a child would never
do such a thing unless confronted with too much pressure and no way
out. Embarrassingly I did a quick review of my recent confrontations
and told my friend that from what I can remember I can testify to the
truth of that statement in my own life.  Oy! the fine line that
parents have to tread nowadays, are getting finer by the day.

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 15:03:49 -0500
[Avodah] Anisakis Redux

According to this paper in the Journal of Pasasitology
(draft version), the nematodes found in the muscle of the fish does not
carry DNA in common with that found in the intestines.

So, turns out the worms found in the meat of the fish didn't originate
in the stomach after all. They're kosher.

Tir'u baTov!

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Message: 8
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 01:12:47 GMT
[Avodah] Being an Eved to an Eved

In this week's parsha, on 21:6, a famous Rashi explains why the ear of an Eved Ivri is pierced if he chooses to stay with his master past the first six years:

"What's special about the ear that it should be pierced, rather than any
other organ? Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai said: [in the case where the Beis
Din sold him,] he went and stole, so the ear which heard 'Don't steal'
should be pierced. And if he [was poor and] sold himself, acquiring another
master for himself, then the ear which heard 'bnei yisrael are *My* avadim'
should be pierced."

My question is this: In the case where he voluntarily chose to sell
himself, why is the ear-piercing prescribed only at the end of the siz
years, and even then only when he prefers to stay on longer? Shouldn't
Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai's logic apply at the very beginning as well?

The only answer I can think of comes from Devarim 15:12-18, which adds the
detail that when his term of service ends, the master must not send him
away empty-handed, but with considerable severance pay. Thus, it seems to
me, that although there is a logical argument to castigate someone for
taking a second master, the Torah has rachmanus on one who chooses this
option out of desperation, and only imposes the ear-piercing upon the one
who chooses it out of desire.

I'm wondering, though, what this might say about a person who volunteers
for military service in a benevolent but non-Jewish nation. My
understanding is that the situation of a soldier can be compared quite
closely to that of an Eved Ivri. The soldier has little or no control over
his time, and must respond to every whim of his commanding officer. Even if
the soldier has certain privileges to perform his Jewish rituals, that
seems to be no different than an Eved Ivri, who is still chayav in all
Taryag Mitzvos, and whose master must allow him to fulfill them.

In short, I'd like to hear -- especially from any listmembers who have done
military service anywhere -- if Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai's admonition
applies to volunteering for the military and less than volunteering to be
an Eved Ivri. Both, it seems to me, have chosen to have another master
besides the first Master.

Akiva Miller

53 Year Old Mom Looks 33
The Stunning Results of Her Wrinkle Trick Has Botox Doctors Worried

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Message: 9
From: "Joel Schnur" <j...@schnurassociates.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 23:31:26 -0500
[Avodah] Subject: Re: why stop learning?

Subject: Re: [Avodah] why stop learning?

Message-ID: <4F34C869.2030...@zahav.net.il>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed


I heard a Gra story once in which someone who had the only lulav in town
allowed the Gra to use it on condition that the owner get the tzchut. 

The Gra agreed but later said that there is no such thing as giving away a
tzchut. How he agreed to the deal if it was worthless wasn't explained


Don't know about the lulav story ( I would welcome a source) but there are
two versions of the Gra and 'kiyum hamitzvah shelo al m'nas l'kabel pras,
one with an esrog in Pinos Habayis,and one with hadasim, in Hagaon.




Joel Schnur

Senior VP

Government Affairs/Public Relations

Schnur Associates, Inc.

1350 Avenue of the Americas

Suite 1200

New York, NY 10019


Tel. 212-489-0600 x204

Fax. 212-489-0203 




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Message: 10
From: menucha <m...@inter.net.il>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 07:58:30 +0200
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Being more sensitive

Ateret Paz has a tshuva based on this story.  (1,3 CM) .  His conclusion 
is that this story has different girsaot and Halacha cannot be learned 
from it. (although when asked about lashon hara al atzmo it was the 
first thing that came to his mind)
Based on other sources the Ateret Paz's conclusion is that one may not 
speak "divrei gnai ulashon hara al atzmo"
His concluding proof is the Yevamot 64b, Rav Abba bar Zavda not telling 
of his being "akar" (might tie in with the discussion on areivim about 
gays evading shadchanim)

> From: Micha Berger mi...@aishdas.org <mailto:mi...@aishdas.org>
> .....When the CC said something like, "You must be mistaken,
> he isn't much of a talmid chakham or a scholar", the man was enraged and
> slapped him. Well, they get to Radun, the guy goes to see the famous CC
> and was obviously mortified to learn who he slapped! He cried and begged
> mechilah. But the CC said there is no reason for it, the slap was worth
> it in order to learn the din that you aren't allowed to speak LH even
> about yourself.

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Message: 11
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 23:17:00 -0500
[Avodah] Lashon Hora About Me

 From Areivim:

: R'n TK:
:> A person is also not allowed to talk loshon hara about himself.

: As best as I can tell, this is incorrect.

Someone near the CC on a train ride home struck up a conversation and
found out that this older gentleman was was from Radun. He was traveling
to see the great CC, and was excited that he found someone who must know
all about him, and perhaps could share some stories. So, the man asked
him all about the tzadiq in his town (not knowing he was talking to the
CC himself). When the CC said something like, "You must be mistaken,
he isn't much of a talmid chakham or a scholar", the man was enraged and
slapped him. Well, they get to Radun, the guy goes to see the famous CC
and was obviously mortified to learn who he slapped! He cried and begged
mechilah. But the CC said there is no reason for it, the slap was worth
it in order to learn the din that you aren't allowed to speak LH even
about yourself.

for it), I don't think there's a halachic basis for it. Any comments?


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Message: 12
From: Arie Folger <arie.fol...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 11:30:40 +0100
Re: [Avodah] Do we Owe Respect to Old Bones?

RAM wrote (ages ago, in the paleolothic or so, by internet times, about
three weeks ago):

> Suppose there was a creature whose appearance and behavior was
> indistinguishable from Bnei Adam. However, we were somehow able
> to determine that this creature did NOT possess a Tzelem Elokim.
> You seem to be saying that it would be assur to murder such a creature,
> yet at the same time, its bones would not be m'tameh.
> I do not understand that nature of such a creature. Is it a Ben Adam
> or a Baal Chayim? If a creature is in the category of a Ben Adam, then
> it is assur to murder him, and his bones are m'tameh, and Tzaar Baalei
> Chayim is irrelevant although Chesed and Nezikin are very relevant. If
> a creature is in the category of a Baal Chayim, then it is mutar to kill it
> for a good reason, and its bones are not m'tameh, and Tzaar Baalei
> Chayim is very relevant while Chesed and Nezikin do not apply.
> I had always thought that Tzelem Elokim is what distinguishes a Ben
> Adam from Baalei Chayim. Perhaps I was mistaken. It seems that there
> is a third category, that of Adnei Hasadeh, creatures which appear to be
> Bnei Adam, but have no Tzelem Elokim. I would have expected appearances
> to be irrelevant, and that the halacha would be determined by our knowledge
> that it has no Tzelem Elokim, thus placing it in the Baal Chayim category.

Please pardon my extensive quoting above, but RAM's remark was very
appropriate. Adnei hasadeh may or may not provide a model for dealing with
the issue at hand, but I arroved at it because of ethical qualms, not
because of any specific sources.

Let me explain.

There are several ways to interpret ma'asseh vereishit as regards to its
seeming contradiction  with many scientific findings. As I am won't to say,
the question is mostly not a scientific one, but a philosophical question,
as science has no way to determine and no interest in determining whether
the world was created as a half finished work in progress appearing to be
much older, or whether the world really is very old. Likewise, the question
as to how to interpret verses in the Torah is a philosophical question,
regarding the role of metaphpor and language in describing such most
complex matters as Creation.

Still, one of the ways to reconcile Torah with science is to say that G"d
created the universe through the Big Bang and steered it to produce life
sustaining earth, where He also allowed life to evolve. Australopithecus
and other hominids did roam the earth, and homo sapiens sapiens was out
there for two hundred thousand years or so, some of them along Neantherthal

If so, however, what does the account of creation of man mean? Again one of
the ways to reconcile those seemingly conflicting accounts is to say that
Adam was not the first homo sapiens sapiens, but the first adam betzelem.
That would, by the way, work nicely with some midrashim that imply other
people out there (as well as with the verse kol motz'i yahargeni, which is
otherwise explained as relating to the animals), but I digress.

The above scenario implies that homo sapiens sapiens nontzelemus was partly
contemporaneous to homo sapiens sapiens betzelemis, which raises the
question of how we ought to relate to such nontzelem creatures. Would we
consider them non-human? Does this not reek of the theories put forward to
oppress blacks in the 18th and early 19th century? Does this not open the
gate for the extremely unegalitarian notion of solid hereditary differences
between one group of humans and another? What about the descendants of
nontzelemites? Are all homo sapiens babies after Adam automatically endowed
by a tzelem, even if their parents lacked it? Did all nontzelemi die out
with the mabul? If they are nonhuman, why didn't Noach save two in his

Because of all the above questions and the serious ethical repurcussions
possibly even down to our day, I take it as axiomatix that killing such a
being extrajudicially would be, well, murder, even if they lack a tzelem.
The rest I still need to deal with, but the mishna in Kilaim did encourage
me, in Rabbi Yossi positing that an adnei hasadeh is metame.

Kol tuv,
Arie Folger,
Recent blog posts on http://ariefolger.wordpress.com/
* Parsing Modim's Poetry
* In der Presse: Synagoge und Facebook
* Ist Rosch haSchan? hart?
* Wir ziehen um! ? We are Moving
* Muslims Question Their Calendar ? Could it Have Happened to Us?
* Technologie und j?disches Lernen
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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 11:46:59 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The Workings of Tefillah

On Tue, Feb 07, 2012 at 3:10:11pm EST, I quoted:
: http://vbm-torah.org/archive/faith/12faith.htm
:     By Rav Joshua Amaru
:     ...
:     3. The Anthropocentric Conception of Prayer
:     4. The Theurgical Conception of Prayer
:     5. Rav Soloveitchik's Existentialist Conception of Prayer
:     6. Prayer as Intersubjective Influence

Nishma's Blog (blogmaster: RRW) recently carried two entries on the subject.

1- http://nishmablog.blogspot.com/2012/02/tfilah-request-vs-demand.html

     T'filah: Request vs. Demand
     Guest Blogger
     Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen

     As to whether Tefila is a request or a demand, the following related
     article published this month in my latest book, "Jewish Prayer-The
     Right Way, Resolving Halachic Dilemmas (Urim Publishing)suggests
     at times it may be a demand.(See pp.21-22)


     The following response was culled from a taped shiur of HaRav HaGoan
     R. Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik,(ZL) Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva University
     which was recorded over fifty years ago at Congregation Moriah in
     Manhattan, NY.

     The Talmud (Berachot 34b) reports the following:

     Rav Gamliel's son was ill. To pray for his son's recovery, Rav
     Gamliel sent two Torah scholars to Rav Chaninan ben Dosa. Upon
     viewing the scholars approach, Rav Chanina went up to his attic and
     solely prayed for recovery. When they came before Rav Chanina, he
     informed them that the sick person was already cured. Subsequently,
     the scholars were able to substantiate not only the cure but also
     the time the cure took place.

     Some issues of concern. Why did Rav Gamliel send two students? Why
     not one? Why the necessity to send Torah scholars? Also, why did
     not Rav Chanina wait for the scholars to formally make the request?

     Subequently, Rav Chanina ben Dosa became a student of Rav Yochanan
     ben Zakkai. Once Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai's son was ill and Rav
     Yochanan ben Zakkai asked his student, Rav Chanina to pray for his
     ill son. Rav Chanina ben Dosa put his head down by his knees and
     prayed and cured the illness.

     At issue is the rationale for Rav Chanina's bizarre mode of
     prayer.Why did he put his head down by his legs? What message did
     such a prayer impart?

     HaRav Soloveitchik (ZL) gave the following analysis of these
     Talmudic incidents. Rav Chanina's mode of prayer expressed a unique
     orientation towards requests or petitions made to the Rebono Shel
     Olam. Who walks with his head down near his feet? Not humans. Humans
     walk with their head held high. The posture of a head hanging near
     one's feet is symtomatic of animals. Rav Chanina's mindset was to
     plead with G-d to sustain his creations with health as he sustains
     the animals in the field. He gave life to the person who is ill,
     therefore, He owes them health. As it is written "Umasbia l'chol
     chai- and He sustains all life". Animals are given life and health
     regardless of their nature to do good or otherwise. The prayer for
     the ill has nothing to do with the character, personality, Torah
     knowledge or religious observances of the person. Rav Chanina felt
     that all humans due to the fact that G-d gave them life deserve
     to be granted health comparable to the health given to the animals
     of the field. To emphasize this quality, Rav Chanina put his head
     between his legs to manifest the animal aspect of all mankind. In
     other words, care should be given to human creations at least in
     the same format that it is provided to the animal world.

     Rav Gamliel had a radically different approach to prayer. His
     position was that people of merit had a right to demand
     considerations from G-d. For this reason he sent to Rav Chanina not
     one but two students who were Talmedai Chachamim, Torah Scholars. He
     believed that a request to heal his son should be through the
     process of a Bet Din. Serving as the leader of the Torah world he
     felt that he deserved some consideration in return.The prayer for
     recovery was to be a P'sak of a Bet Din ruling that he, Rav Gamliel
     merited compassion from G-d for his son.

     Rav Chanina understood Rav Gamliel's intention when he noted that
     two scholars were coming to his home. Consequently, he prayed for
     the recovery of Rav Gamliel's son by himself; for his approach
     to prayer was one of great modesty and not a religious demand for
     payment due to the performance of Mitzvot.

     (Any error or misstatement should be attributed to my understanding
     of the Sheur and not to HaGoan HaRav Soloveitchik (ZL).)

To which RRW wondered out loud:
    Thinking out loud I wonder if we may legitimately distinguish between
    different kinds of DEMANDS

    EG personal demands may be always construed as "selfish"

    However, demands that are Lichvod Shamayim - such as "v'timloch
    aleinu" - might be entirely different because it is not for OUR
    selfish needs etc.

Then RRW copied something from narrowbridge.org (apparently a Breslover

    Reb Nosson wrote:
    In every sphere, the only thing a person can do is to wait for G-d's
    salvation and, in the meantime, to petition G-d to send him what
    he needs. Be it small or large, whatever our needs; whether food or
    drink, clothing, shelter, eating utensils, furniture, domestic help,
    tuition money, or anything else, there is no advice and no strategy
    other than to throw our burden on G-d, begging Him to send us what
    we need. If we have to take some action, or to discover some advice
    or strategy about what to do, we should ask and rely on G-d to help
    us and to supply us with good advice at the proper time.
    (Healing Leaves, p. 71)

    What does this mean to me?

    There are people who don't like to hear that prayer is the
    answer. "What about having a duty to make effort? What about
    being realistic about the way that this world works?" they ask,
    exasperated. Reb Nosson shows us that there is no contradiction
    between our need to make effort and the fact that prayer and patience
    is the solution. Whatever we need -- and he is so specific, down to
    the tuition! -- we must turn to G-d for it. Until the help arrives,
    we exercise the quality of patience. And before we make any decision
    or take the steps that we see laid out before us to secure those
    needs, we ask for Good, Orderly Direction -- whose initials spell,
    what else? G-d.

    A prayer:

        G-d of patience, teach me patience.

        Help me learn to wait-
        + for the good that is just around the corner;
        + for the assistance that will soon be within reach;
        + for the relief that is just a moment away

    (The Gentle Weapon*, p. 52)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When a king dies, his power ends,
mi...@aishdas.org        but when a prophet dies, his influence is just
http://www.aishdas.org   beginning.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                    - Soren Kierkegaard


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